What It Takes to Make a Business Partnership Work

Updated on 13 May 2019

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What It Takes to Make a Business Partnership Work

The saying “two heads are better than one” has probably crossed your mind if you are considering entering into a business partnership. The benefits of having business partners include having access to a wider pool of skills, startup capital and business networks.

However, finding the right partners is key, not only for the sake of future success of your business, but for your own piece of mind and productivity too.

Here’s everything you need to know about forming and cementing the ideal (and profitable) business partnership.

Before you commit to a business partner

Be honest with yourself

One of the questions you should answer is: have you worked together before? If your prospective partner is someone you’ve had a previous good working relationship with, you already have an idea of what to expect. Rather than diving into a partnership with someone you don’t know, consider working on a small project together first to get a feel for each other’s work ethic, strengths and weaknesses. Questions to ask before you commit

Decide what you need in a partner

“The most important step is deciding exactly what skills and experience you need to best complement yours. Start with your own judgment.” – Martin Zwilling, founder and CEO of Startup Professionals. Tips for finding your ideal partner

Find someone who is equally committed to the business

“You want a partner who is as passionate about the business as you are, so seek out individuals who share your commitment and your drive. Look for someone who is involved with their craft outside of regular business hours.” – Shannon Conheady, CEO and co-founder of RepairQuote. Where to find the ideal business partner

Look for someone like-minded

“Take your time and really look at who you’re surrounding yourself with – are they like-minded, are they disciplined, are they pushing you forward?” – Sean Combs, record producer, investor and entrepreneurWatch out for these partnership red flags

Find a partner who shares a common goal

“You must have a common ‘Why’. If you know why you are in business and if this is shared among partners then you will always be working from the same foundation with a heightened level of commitment to that vision and goal.” – Sandhya Singh and Raksha Mahabeer, co-founders of SummerTimeMore tools to strengthen your partnership

Understand that you will have disagreements

You have to come to terms with the fact that there might be disagreements or a dispute between you and your (future) partner. You have to decide beforehand on how the matter will be dealt with.

Once you’ve entered the business partnership

Designate tasks and roles

“While we are both creatives, Salamina (Mosese) is better at handling things on the operational level while I am better at handling creative and production related matters. This allows us to focus on different things, but with the same goal in mind, which is to grow the business.” – Stephina Zwane, co-founder of Sorele Media and Aza TV.

Be willing to share responsibilities

“The advantage of having two of us allows us to divide responsibilities which mean we don’t step on each other’s toes.” – Dan Clarence, co-owner of Cash Converters.

Learn to accept each other’s differences

“[We] work hard to compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses while striving to support each other. We both have very similar skill sets. We do things radically differently, but we have learnt to accept that and accept criticism in both directions.” – Nicholas Boerma, co-owner of Chronon.

Continue to nurture your relationship

“The relationship outside the office may function on similar dynamics but it’s important to nurture a friendship separately to your professional relationship. Also; have fun. We make sure to go for lunches to catch up even though we sit meters apart.” – Nicholas Boerma, co-owners of ChrononOther ways to nurture your relationship

Make sure you share the same values

“It all lies in the value system. We believe what has made our business a success is having a shared value system. With us, we value trust, integrity, and honesty.” – Gil Sperling, co-founder of PopimediaFind balance between your friendship and the business

Maintain respect for each other

“The key to maintaining a great friendship is maturity and respect, this ensures that the relationship is kept strong and solid through good and bad times.” – Raksha Mahabeer, co-founder of SummerTimeWays to keep strong through good and bad times

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